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Anchorage Airplane Fee Hike Withdrawn

November 11, 2010 — As an estimated 50 pilots and aircraft owners gathered at last Tuesday’s Anchorage, Alaska, city assembly meeting, ready to testify against a proposed 100 percent registration fee increase on small aircraft. But as the meeting got under way, Mayor Dan Sullivan abruptly announced that the proposal that would have increased the fee from $75 to $150 for single-engine craft and from $125 to $250 for twin-engine planes had been withdrawn. Sullivan, according to the Anchorage Daily News, told attendees that the proposal needs more work “because the city applies taxes and fees differently to property such as boats and aircraft.”

That speaks to one of the main objections of aircraft owners, including many EAAers, who contend such an increase would be discriminatory because it singles out aircraft as opposed to other motorized recreational vehicles like ATVs, snowmobiles, RVs, and boats. The mayor indicated he wants to meet with aircraft owners and others to re-do the proposal and include the various other vehicles.

“All those e-mails and phone calls registering your displeasure at being singled out had a huge impact, and none of the Assembly members nor Mayor seemed inclined to try to defend it,” wrote Wes Erb, president of the Birchwood Airport (BCV) Association, in an e-mail. “The tax was dead before it even came to the floor.”

Lars Gleitsmann, director of government affairs for EAA Chapter 42, called the city’s decision to withdraw the proposed increase a temporary one. “I feel like they will come back with something,” he said. “We’re up against a perception up here that people who have airplanes are rich and can afford it, but that’s simply not the case.”

The proposed increase would total an estimated $210,000 for the 2011 city budget based on 2,431 active accounts associated with the aircraft registration tax. See previous story here.

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